For the last six or eight years I have been telling legislators who have approached me about the diploma mills, including those online that purport to be “home schools,” that the solution is not to pass legislation to limit private schools (including home schools). In fact, I’ve told such legislators that I don’t know how they could draft legislation that would deal with the issue without impacting the freedom of legitimate private and home schools and that if such legislation were filed, the home schooling community of Texas would use all the means at our disposal to defeat such legislation in order to defend our freedom.
In those conversations I argue that the solution is for the State of Texas to prosecute such businesses for fraud. In fact, I’ve done several TV and radio interviews on the subject and I always made the same comments. Some years ago one of these online diploma mills actually even stated on their website that they were a “home school,” “accredited by the Texas Home School Coalition.” We contacted them and told them that we don’t accredit schools and that if they did not take down those statements, we would take legal action against them; they complied.
Recently I was contacted by the Texas attorney general’s office regarding this issue and I cooperated with them. I’m glad to say that recent news articles – Texas and Fed Crack Down on Alleged Houston Diploma Mills and Texas AG freezes assets of Houston-based online education academy during ‘diploma mill’ crackdown – report that they Texas AG’s office has finally filed charges against some of these businesses. This is the way these issues should be handled rather than through legislation—a means that often has unintended consequences.
In fact, a good example of such an unfavorable outcome is a response by the Texas Legislature some years ago to pseudo-colleges or diploma mills offering college degrees. The legislation passed by the Texas Legislature had the unintended result of requiring theological seminaries to receive state approval before offering degree programs. This ultimately resulted in a lawsuit by several seminaries against the State of Texas for controlling the content of religious institutions.
Passing legislation to control private education would very likely have the same kind of result. THSC will not let that happen. We celebrate today the actions of the Texas attorney general’s office in taking legal action against fraudulent businesses that hide behind the hard work of the home schooling community.